How to Become a Licensed Counselor in New Mexico

How Do I Become a Licensed Professional Counselor in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s New Counseling and Therapy Practice Board licenses counselors at two levels. A Licensed Mental Health Counselor(LMHC) license is acquired by completing the necessary educational requirements and passing an exam. The Licensed Professional Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LPCC) license requires a certain number of supervised experience hours and passing a separate exam. New Mexico also recognizes Art Therapy as a specialty. Art therapists are initially given an LMHC status. Once they complete all additional necessary requirements, they will be licensed as a Professional Art Therapist(LPAT). The licensure application for all three licenses is available online.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Counselor in New Mexico?

Unfortunately, due to recent tragedies in New Mexico, mental health is on the top of everyone’s minds, from the streets in Albuquerque to the steps of the Capitol in Santa Fe. Immigration, gun control, alcoholism, the economy, and a host of other issues are effecting people throughout the state. New Mexico’s New Counseling and Therapy Practice Board’s requirements and innovative approaches, such as the Professional Art Therapist(LPAT) license are tools to be used by future counselors to bring healing to the state. As the New Mexico Counseling Association’s mission states, the job of all licensed professional counselors in New Mexico is to enhance the quality of life for the people living there.

Counseling Educational Track
Education Requirements Education Length Available Programs
Undergraduate Work Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling 4 Years Online or Campus
Graduate Work Earn a Master's Degree in Counseling 5-6 Years Online or Campus
PHD or Doctoral Work Earn a Doctorate in Counseling 7-8 Years Online or Campus

New Mexico’s future counselors are required to complete graduate coursework, receive a passing score on the required exams, and accumulate the necessary hours of supervised experience. For the LMHC and LPCC license the required master’s level degree must be in counseling or agency counseling, art therapy, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, human and family studies, mental health community counseling, or psychology. The LMHC license requires a passing score on the National Board for Certified Counselors(NBCC) National Counselor Examination(NCE). The required exam for the LPCC license is the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination(NCMHCE). In addition, full licensure as an LPCC requires 3,000 hours of supervised practice.

What Are the Supervised Experience Requirements to Become a Counselor in New Mexico?

The 3,000 required hours of supervised practice must be accumulated during the course of two years. 100 hours of this time must be spent in face-to-face supervision. The applicant’s supervisor is required to be an art therapist, clinical mental health counselor, independent social worker, marriage and family therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist. The supervisor and applicant’s work will be guided by a supervision plan. All applicants pursuing the full LPCC license are considered a Licensed Mental Health Counselor(LMHC) during their supervised experience.

A commitment to good record keeping on the part of the supervisor and the licensee will ensure a timely review and issuance of the license.

What Are the Examination Requirements to Become a Counselor in New Mexico?

New Mexico requires a passing score on the National Board for Certified Counselors(NBCC) National Counselor Examination (NCE) for the LMHC license. The National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) must be passed in conjunction with the necessary supervised experience in order for the full LPCC license to be issued. Furthermore, LMHC’s holding an art therapy major are required to pass the Art Therapy Credentialing Board Examination (ATCBE).

The NCE consists of 200 multiple choice questions designed to assess knowledge, skills, and abilities of licensure candidates. You will receive your score within 8 weeks of the examination. Study guides are available via the NBCC.

The NCMHCE consists of 10 simulated clinical mental health counseling cases that are designed to sample a broad area of competencies. You will receive your score within 6 weeks of the examination. Study guides are also available via the NBCC.

The ATCBE consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, of which 30 questions are experimental questions that are not scored. You will receive your score within 8 weeks of examination. More information is available at the Art Therapy Credentials Board website.

Note: For more information on how to become a counselor in the state of New Mexico, please visit the New Counseling and Therapy Practice Board.

Counseling Career Outlook in New Mexico

According to EducationNews.org, between 2006 and 2010 professional counselors in New Mexico realized a 22% increase in salaries. Salaries ranged from $29,172 per year to $71,644. While the data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show an average income of between $35,000-$48,000 per year for professional counselors in New Mexico. Depending on their area of focus, additional training, and location counselors may experience 50% more or less than the average compensation. It is important to keep in mind that different agencies, employers, or private practitioners and current insurance reimbursement rates all influence specific salaries offered to individual counselors.

Schools with Degree Programs Accepting Students from New Mexico

Additional Resources for New Mexico Applicants: